Britain will be lashed by more heavy rain this week in the wake of Storm Dennis, as some severely flooded areas are said to be in “uncharted territory”.
Nine severe flood warnings, meaning there is a danger to life, were in place on Tuesday morning across England and Wales.
Communities across the country are counting the cost of Storm Dennis, which brought record levels of flooding and left hundreds of properties underwater.
The River Wye reached its highest levels on record on Monday, peaking at more than 6m, with the Environment Agency (EA) describing levels as “exceptional” and residents in Hereford saying they had never seen anything like it.
EA manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Dave Throup tweeted on Monday night: “I’ve seen things today I would not have believed. Large parts of my home town and village are underwater tonight.
“This is not normal flooding, we are in uncharted territory.”
I’ve seen things today I would not have believed.— Dave Throup (@DaveThroupEA) February 17, 2020
Large parts of my home town and village are underwater tonight.
This is not normal flooding, we are in uncharted territory.
So sorry for everyone who has flooded.
Back tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/jWtvBd4DIV
West Mercia Police advised people in Upton-upon-Severn and Uckinghall in Worcestershire to evacuate on Monday evening due to rising river levels.
Assistant chief constable Geoff Wessell said there was a “level of relief” for Upton-upon-Severn on Tuesday morning as flood defences appeared not to have been breached.
He told BBC Breakfast: “It’s not overtopped. Preparations were made. We’ve had good support from the locals to leave if they needed to. But a level of relief for us.”
Wessell advised people to remain cautious, not to drive through floodwater and to remain ready to leave their homes if they need to.
People were being evacuated from their homes in Telford on Tuesday morning as water pressure from the River Severn caused the road surface to crack.
Residents of the Wharfage, located along the river, were being taken to a cafe on the High Street in Ironbridge, while 21 cars parked in the area were brought to a nearby park and ride to save them from flooding, Telford and Wrekin Council said.
The council said the river's flood peak was moving towards the Ironbridge Gorge and was expected to arrive there later on Tuesday.
The family of Yvonne Booth, who was swept away by floodwater near Tenbury in Worcestershire on Sunday, said they had been left “devastated” after her body was found on Monday.
The 55-year-old, from the Great Barr area of Birmingham, was described as a “very much loved member of our family” in a statement from relatives, released through police.
The Environment Agency has issued severe flood warnings for the River Severn at Upton-upon-Severn and Uckinghall, the River Wye at Hereford and Hampton Bishop, the River Trent at Burton upon Trent and the River Lugg at Hampton Bishop.
In Wales, there are two severe warnings in place on the River Wye at Monmouth in what Natural Resources Wales called both “defended” and “undefended” areas.
Homes in Monmouth were evacuated as the organisation warned the river was expected to peak at 7.2m on Tuesday morning.
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Prime minister Boris Johnson has faced criticism for not visiting affected areas and resisting calls to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra to tackle the flooding.
Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said it was a “disgrace” that Johnson had “refused” to visit affected communities.
About 1,000 staff were on duty, with 5km of flood barriers deployed and 90 pumps in action, the EA said.
It warned the flood risk continues, with further heavy rain forecast in the north of England for Wednesday and Thursday, possibly falling on already flooded areas.
Met Office meteorologist Marco Petagna said Tuesday will bring a brief respite from the worst of the weather for most of the UK, with sunny spells and showers, but warned areas of Wales could see downpours.
“With the ground being so saturated, it’s not going to help the situation,” he said.
“And there’s more persistent rain coming on Wednesday. There will be wet and windy weather across the UK on Wednesday and Thursday, with the heavy rain coming back.”
The Met Office has issued two yellow weather warnings for snow and ice over parts of Scotland, with further warnings of persistent rain in Wales for Wednesday and Thursday, which could be extended to the north west of England.